South East Asia

Keeping a closer eye on South East Asia than I used to, after a fine 5 week trip through 5 countries in Feb/March this year.

Burma/Myanmar

Today marks Burma’s Martyrs’ Day, a holiday commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of anti-imperialist revolutionary Aung San, father of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and newest member of Burmese parliament Aung San Suu Kyi. Recognized as the architect of Burma’s independence from Britain, the young leader was gunned down in a government building on July 19, 1947 along with six of his cabinet ministers, just six months before his country would achieve independence. In Burma, today is a day of mourning, both of the leader and the principles that would have likely become manifest in Burmese society if his life had not been cut short. Tricycle

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Officials announced this week that the controversial copper mine project worth $1 billion, which locals and activists have been protesting for months now  will resume operationQuartz

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Cambodia

Prime Minister Hun Sen — who maintains a difficult-to-defeat political machine — faces what analysts describe as a formidable contest, tougher than the governing party is accustomed to and one that features starkly competing political priorities.

…The rallying cry of the young opposition supporters in Phnom Penh is “change.” They campaign throughout the city on motorcycles, emblems of greater mobility and incomes than their parents knew.

The opposition was galvanized by the return last Friday of Sam Rainsy, a former finance minister who fled Cambodia in 2009 rather than face charges in a highly politicized trial. Mr. Sam Rainsy, who was greeted by tens of thousands of supporters at the Phnom Penh airport… NY Times + photos

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Marvelous photos by David Butow of Buddhist ceremony around the world.

A monk praying at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

A monk praying at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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Vietnam

4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese

Ly is … very different from other children. Her head is severely misshapen. Her eyes are unnaturally far apart and permanently askew. She’s been hospitalized with numerous ailments since her birth.Her mother, 43-year-old Le Thi Thu, has similar deformities and health disorders. Neither of them has ever set foot on a battlefield, but they’re both casualties of war.Le and her daughter are second- and third-generation victims of dioxin exposure, the result of the U.S. military’s use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, when the U.S. Air Force sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides over parts of southern Vietnam and along the borders of neighboring Laos and Cambodia

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Bearing a copy of a letter from Ho Chi Minh to Harry S. Truman, the president of Vietnam met President Obama on Thursday and pledged to deepen trade and military ties with the United States even as they tangled over human rights.

Mr. Obama referred gently to the [alleged human rights] abuses, saying: “All of us have to respect issues like freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly. And we had a very candid conversation about both the progress that Vietnam is making and the challenges that remain.”

Mr. Sang, sitting next to him in the Oval Office, mentioned the legacy of the Vietnam War and said that “we still have differences” concerning his country’s human rights record.

NY Times

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